Truck accidents are some of the most serious motor vehicle accidents that an individual can be involved in. Victims face unique challenges when pursuing compensation against powerful commercial carriers that typically employ a team of legal experts to fight these claims. While most truck drivers follow the rules of the road and are safe drivers, accidents usually occur because a driver failed to follow traffic laws, federal regulations, or was not properly trained. In addition, the vehicles or parts of the truck may be to blame for an accident. This can include the brakes, tires, axles, and more, leading to the possibility of a product liability case. At Markey & Orsi, our attorneys understand the state and federal laws governing commercial carriers, drivers, and brokers. We know how to conduct the detailed investigations needed to protect the rights of our injured clients. If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact the truck accident attorneys from Markey & Orsi today to discuss your case.
Types of Truck Accidents Our Truck Accident Attorneys Handle
Regardless of the type of truck involved, a collision with a smaller vehicle typically results in severe injuries to the car’s passengers, even if the truck driver walks away unscathed. Our Maryland truck accident attorneys have nearly 30 years of experience protecting the rights of individuals injured in all types of truck accidents, including the following:
- Head-on collisions, which can result in the most severe injuries and deaths to passengers in smaller vehicles because of the weight of the truck, combined with the fact that both vehicles are moving in opposite directions when they collide.
- Rollover crashes often occur due to equipment malfunction, sometimes caused by the trucking company’s failure to follow the strict federal inspection regulations and the additional rules in the Maryland Motor Carrier Handbook.
- Jackknife accidents, which involve the trailer swinging independently of the cab with both sections of the tractor-trailer moving in different directions. Nearby drivers can suddenly face a massive obstruction impossible to avoid. Improper braking or road handling on the part of inexperienced truck drivers can cause these accidents, but semi-trucks can also jackknife when loading crews fail to properly balance and secure the load before the truck leaves the dock.
- Fatigued drivers can be as dangerous as aggressive drivers. The FMCSR has strict rules on hours of operation for truck drivers. Many companies pay drivers per mile so there is a built-in incentive to drive all day and night. While driver logs are supposed to document hours of operation, toll, fuel and food receipts, weight and inspection tickets, they are not always accurate. The attorneys at Markey & Orsi know how to uncover the true hours of operation to help prove your case.
- Product liability cases often arise from truck accidents. Because a truck is made of various moving parts, anything could go wrong if one or more of those parts were to break because of an unknown defect. For the most part, designers and manufacturers can be held liable if they are found to have acted negligently, designing or producing an unsafe truck part. It is important to do a thorough investigation to assess this possibility.
Proving Truck Driver Negligence
In any personal injury case, it is important to prove that the other party was negligent in order to have a successful claim. Most trucks on the road today contain an Event Data Recorder, also known as a “black box,” which records the speed of the commercial vehicle in the seconds before impact. Trucking companies and insurance companies know the black box data can verify the speed of the tractor just before the collision. Immediately after the collision, it is important to tell the trucking company and insurance company to preserve the data or it will be erased or destroyed. We call this a spoliation letter. Unfortunately, even the police investigating accidents don’t know to preserve the black box data. However, if the data is erased or destroyed after a spoliation letter is sent, we can tell the jury the data was spoiled by the defense to hide evidence of fault.
Maryland makes recovering compensation for auto accidents somewhat more difficult than other states. A truck accident case may be impacted by something called contributory negligence, a legal principle regarding one’s degree of fault and how it correlates to their entitlement for damages. In a slew of other states, the principle of comparative negligence governs. This means that one’s entitlement to compensation is a percentage that relates to their degree of fault. For those who are found to be 30% at-fault for an accident, they are entitled to a smaller amount of financial compensation than those who are 100% innocent of fault. If a person was to be found over 50% at0-fault in these states, they are barred from pursuing compensation. Maryland is a bit harsher about this. In Maryland, if a person was to be found in any way responsible for an accident, they are barred from any entitlement to damages. This is a complicated matter. It is important to have an attorney that can fight against any degree of fault, freeing you to take just legal action against a liable party.
Contact Our Maryland Truck Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you need skilled attorneys to lead the investigation and help you recover compensation. Markey & Orsi has the experience and ability to help you obtain the compensation, justice, and peace of mind you deserve. Contact our firm today for quality legal assistance.